A Watch Without a Name – How Branding Can Be Blinding
Watch & Bullion25 September 2016 | 3 min read
„Simon come have a look at this“
I turned my head towards my mother instinctively hoping I didn’t forget to clean out the dishwasher again.
„I bought this watch around 20 years ago for a few thousand Deutsch Mark on Sylt from an artist. I don’t know if it is of interest to you, but when I found it recently in the drawer, I had to think of you“.
I took a look at this mesh of metal and mirrors in her hand. This was unlike anything I had ever seen before.
My first thought was: how should I approach this watch? Usually when a new watch is released journalists get a press release showcasing the highlights, facts, and figures of a watch. While these make my job considerably easier, it also ends up influencing the way a review turns out. It is therefore not surprising that often reviews of new releases sound so similar.
With this watch however I had nothing to start with, not even the name of the brand. So I did what I would do with any other watch, I wore it.
The bracelet is made out of solid silver, a rare choice in watchmaking due to the rapid oxidisation of silver. It is made out of two solid parts with only three holes for adjustment, a similar system to that of handcuffs.
The dial is even more of a spectacle. Square watches are difficult to do right, and yet this is one of the most creative and intriguing examples of a rare design. The dial is a mirror, on which two smaller square mirrors are placed, each with a coloured square in their corner to mark the hour and minute hand. My mother told me at this point that this specific watch was the only one ever created with this particular colour choice, black and blue, making it a one of a kind watch.
After wearing it for a few days, it became evident that this really is much more a piece of art than it is a practical watch. The bracelet is not particularly comfortable due to its rigidity, and the time is hard to read for the lack of any indices. The movement has a low power reserve and isn’t the smoothest to operate.
Would I recommend this watch over a Rolex Datejust? No, I don’t think so. But that’s not what this watch is about. It is a refreshing break from what we know and have come to expect from watchmaking. Its anonymity allows for a surge of creativity which puts the swiss staleness to shame.